There are people out there who say that global warming will drive many species to extinction, including polar bears. That sea levels will rise dramatically as the Greenland ice cap melts before the end of this century. That hurricanes will get stronger and more frequent and the Amazon rainforest will succumb to drought. And much, much more.
They’re wrong, but that’s not the point of this article (we have moved into a post-normal world where right and wrong are not as important as they used to be). These peope deserve to be called alarmists.
These people piggy-back on the solid work and sober assessments of thousands of climate scientists who do not share their fears. These better-grounded scientists know that the climate is changing and know that it will have an effect and suspect that we should do something about it. They deserve our respect and support.
There are lukewarmers such as myself who believe that we should take action now based on what the science (not the hysterics) tell us, especially as the actions we need to take are common sense initiatives that we should do anyhow.
And there are skeptics who believe that either the globe isn’t warming more than normal, or that our CO2 had nothing to do with whatever warming is occurring.
You can’t tell the players without a scorecard.
What causes so much fuss and fury is when members of one extreme or the other pretend that the two groups in the middle don’t exist. The alarmists class lukewarmers with skeptics (because they think the actions we support are not drastic enough). The skeptics seem to think that the second group of scientists don’t exist–that the rock star jet-setting CRU brigage who shaped the Hockey Stick are representative of science as a whole.
What can be worse is when people on both extremes pretend to be in the middle, as this muddies the arguments of those who have chosen the middle path, not because it’s in the middle, but because they think it’s right.
I have absolutely no problem with those at either end of the spectrum expressing their opinions, trying to shape policy to meet their desired ends or trying to persuade the public that they’re right.
I do have a problem when fanatics insist that those in the middle don’t exist, are playing a game, don’t deserve the same right to try and influence actions on climate change. I have to say in all honesty that most of these fanatics are from the alarmist side.
The effect of that is that everyone in the middle finds it easier to get along with skeptics. This sometimes makes it look like we agree with everything. And the alarmists take advantage of that.
But it’s a losing game overall, driving those in the middle into the opposing camp. At some point, those who are trying to set and implement a strategy for the alarmists are going to wake up and realize that they have failed. Public opinion drifts away from their position daily, as does political support for the measures they back. They’re losing.
And they have done nothing to indicate that they realize it–or that they don’t deserve the marginalisation that is coming their way.